Newcastle Falcons head coach Peter Russell will be leaving the club for personal reasons at the end of the current season.
Russell arrived on Tyneside in the summer of 2012 from Hawke’s Bay and in his first season at Kingston Park, Newcastle sealed promotion back to the top-flight in convincing fashion, scoring 760 points and losing just one match during the regular campaign. Implementing free-flowing attacking rugby in the North East, a feature of the game that Russell is renowned for promoting in his homeland, the Falcons also claimed 13 try bonus-points before defeating Leeds Carnegie and Bedford Blues in the RFU Championship play-off semi-finals and final respectively.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years with Newcastle Falcons with the highlight of my time in the North East being the Championship final victory over Bedford,” said Russell.
“The hardy Falcons supporters have been very welcoming and warm towards me during my time here and I am grateful for that.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenge of the Aviva Premiership which is an incredibly competitive league, and had we had the rub of the green with injuries and in one or two matches this season, we might just have been further up the table.
“However, the development of this young side has been marked and has pleased me hugely, with young players gaining invaluable experience and maturing with every opportunity. I will be wishing them all the best at the end of the season,” added Russell.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Peter will be a huge loss to the squad. In my years of being involved in the game I’ve never come across anyone with such an in depth understanding of the game and an appetite for learning like Peter’s. He is liked and admired by all. We will be wishing him all the best at the final whistle of the season, but as Peter keeps saying, there are games to be played, which means more games to be won.”